15 Places to Visit in South India for an Enjoyable Vacay!

The dynasties left behind a lot more than a super-rich culture and one-of-its-kind traditions. A surfeit of enthralling magnificence, South India is home to diverse places - the cyber capital of India, the temple town of India, a plethora of tea and coffee estates, exquisite silk and cotton clothing, a pleasantly surprising Buddhist monastery, and the country’s best fishing amongst a lot more! It’s true, one can never have enough of this part of India. It is only when you go there, will you realize that there is so much more to it than idli-sambar and classical dance! These places to visit in South India will lure you to head to one ASAP. 
 
 

1. Pristine beaches and all things boho at Gokarna, Karnataka 

  

Image source: flickr.com/Renjith Sasidharan  

Currently the hottest destination for those seeking tranquility, sans commercialization, Gokarna is flocked by beach lovers. With its breathtaking landscapes, this place gives you opportunities to do assorted activities. The choice is yours, take up a hike to a hippie café, beach-hop, visit temples, check-in at an exotic resort, or simply do nothing! This unconventionally touristy town situated on the coast of Karwar, and essentially for laid-back, slow, relaxing vacations . Watching the crimson sunsets at the Om beach certainly is sanctity and salvation in one! 
 
Best time to visit: October until March, when the weather is warm and pleasant, is a good time to visit. Although, visitors visit throughout the year.
 
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2. Find your tribe at Goa

  

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Extremely popular for its numerous beaches and Portuguese culture, there are many reasons why Goa draws such sundry visitors. Flocked by thalasso phyles throughout the year, come vacation season and you will see families and individuals alike drawing to this place like a magnet! This is one of the most popular places to visit in south India. With distinctive features, the north and south Goa, appeal to respective visitors. While the north is a little wilder and abuzz, the South is a calmer, with soothing locations and blissfully less crowd and some great properties too.  It is the north regions of Goa, like Baga, Calangute, Vagator that earned Goa its title of ‘the party destination of India’. If that is not your scene, head to the south, for probably some of the most tranquil beaches in the world Palolem, Mobor, Varca, and Colva exude sangfroid!
 
Best time to visit: September to February is the best time to visit, as the rains have gone and the weather is pleasant. October to December sees the most number of tourists. The Sunburn Festival, one of the bets music festivals globally, happens in December too, drawing many visitors.
 
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3. The Scotland of South Coorg, Karnataka

As if its proximity to Bangalore was not enough, here are some reasons why Coorg or Madikeri, is one of the best south India destinations. An enchanting hill station Coorg is un-glittery, serene, misty with the aroma of coffee estates and the sounds of gushing waterfalls. Cycling around or just strolling in this fresh mountain air, is one of the best ways to soak in the beauty of this place. The Abbey Falls, the Namdroling Monastery, and the Nagarhole National Park are the top attractions of this place. Do not miss out on a visit to the Namdroling Monastery! If you thought monasteries were only in the north and north-east of India, this one’s a delightful bummer! You will even find authentic Tibetan food around the monastery. The hill station is abundant with several luxury as well as budget accommodations. This is your chance to live in the wilderness! 

Best time to visit: November to April is the best time to visit Coorg. This period is a good time to explore the place, and take up some great outdoor activities like hiking. The months of March and April are the favored months to experience the valley shrouded in white flowers.

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Image source: flickrc.com/Ashesh Bharadwaj   

4. Spring-like weather throughout the year at Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu

 

Image source: wikipedia.org  

Perfectly juxtaposing this misty hill-station are honeymooners on one hand and students from around the globe for their studies at the renowned Kodaikanal International School, on the other. Beautifully centered around a massive lake, Kodaikanal is dreamy, with the nip in the air and the fragrance of eucalyptus leaves. Rent a cycle and get exploring, or unwind rowing a boat in the lake on a sunny afternoon, or bathe in the luscious waterfalls, the essence of this place will seep into you without much ado.  

Best time to visit: The best time to visit Kodaikanal is September to May. The weather is at its best during this time.

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5. A contemporary juxtapose - Madurai, Tamil Nadu

  

Image source: flickr.com/Vinoth Chandar  

Spirituality weaves its way through abstract factors in South India. In Madurai, this can be experienced the most. This soul-stirring town is also India’s best temple towns, located at 419 kilometers from the capital city Chennai. It is rightly said that while Chennai may be the capital of the state, Madurai is the soul of Tamil Nadu. Tourists from all over the world, flock here to see the Meenakshi temple. But if you thought, this city was only about temples and history, wait till the commercial/ IT side strikes you! 

Best time to visit: The best time to visit Madurai is December to February given the prevalent pleasant weather.

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6. The jewel in the emerald necklace that Kerala is Thiruvananthapuram 

 

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Long before even National Geographic Traveller classified it as a must-see, this has been a top tourist place in south India. Popular as ‘God’s own country’ for all the right reasons, there are infinite things to venture here. Built on seven hills, the capital is slowly emerging as a metropolis. Blessed with a pleasant climate virtually throughout the year, you will find the city sparkling after the monsoon rains. Majestic snake boats, grand elephant parades, amongst other festivities and rituals are simply awe-striking! This rich cultural heritage along with a long shoreline with internationally renowned beaches, historic monuments, and backwater stretches make this district a much sought-after tourist destination.

Best time to visit: October to February is an ideal time to visit Thiruvananthapuram to make the most of the beautiful beaches.

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7. Go back in time at Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu

 

Image source: flickr.com/Jean-Pierre Dalbéra  

If a place could be ethnic, Mahabalipuram is ethnic! One of the most important historical places in India, the history of this place is captivating. Adding to it are the enthralling landscapes and carvings sprawling the entire town. The World Heritage-listed temples here will mesmerize you. Previously the major seaport of the ancient Pallava kingdom, today the town is abuzz with handicrafts from Tibet and Rajasthan, pancakes, pasta, wood-fired pizza and much more! 

Best time to visit: Mahabalipuram experiences moderately humid climate throughout the year, which makes any time of the year favorable to visit.

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8. Explore the wilderness of Thekkady, Kerala

 

Image source: wikipedia.org  

We have studied in school about the Periyar lake, which lies right here in Thekkady. Popular for its rich wildlife, the Periyar National Park, is an example of nature’s bounty with great scenic charm, rich biodiversity and providing veritable visitor satisfaction. For many Thekkady, builds up images of elephants on streets, several spice gardens, kathakali dance performances and restaurants filled with firangs. Situated close to Munnar, Thekkady is a great place for adventure tourism and trekking.  

Best time to visit: October to February is the best time to visit Thekkady, as the weather is cool and pleasant, making it ideal for sightseeing.

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9. The lazy backwaters of Kerala - Alleppey

 

Image source: flickr.com/Sarath Kuchi  

It sure may be referred to as ‘the Venice of India’, but I agree to differ! It is way more beautiful than Venice. This is the reasons, perhaps, why the state is called ‘God’s own country’. One of the most remarkable places to visit in south India, Alleppey is beauty! Famous for its boat races, backwater holidays, beaches, marine products and coir industry, tourists flock to this gem of India. What makes a holiday here even more special is a stay in a houseboat! Waking up to the sounds of waves, or floating around, as you indulge in some outstanding hospitality, is indeed an extraordinary experience. 

Best time to visit: November to February is the best time to visit Alleppey as the weather is mild and pleasant.

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10. Fabulous heritage at Hampi, Karnataka

 

Image source: wikipedia.org  

A treasure trove of culture, the magical ruins of the Hampi will enrapture you! One of the noted UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the world, Hampi is laidback and an epitome of grandiose historical beauty. Ditch the motors here, get moving on foot or rent a bicycle to observe these beautiful ruins closely at your own space.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit Hampi is the winter season! November to February precisely, when the climate is cool enough to explore this place.

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11. Experience the bygone era of French colonialism at Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu

 

Image source: wikipedia.org  

If you ever were interested in what colonialism ever felt like, head to Pondicherry to still get the vibe. The French ruled this city till a considerably recent 1954, and thus the essence is still strongly present. While this is just one part of the city, the other parts still retain their patent South-Indian flair. The Auroville township is a significant part of this city where you can learn the art of yoga, meditation, and spirituality. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity.

Best time to visit: October to February, being winter season is the best time to visit Pondicherry.

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12. The land of seven forests Yercaud, Tamil Nadu

 

Image source: flickr.com/solarisgirl  

Ironically known as the poor man’s Ooty, Yercaud is tuck into the eastern Ghats of Tamil Nadu. Having characteristically similar feature like Ooty, Yercaud too is abundant with forests, vast coffee plantations and some unique species of flora and fauna that result into gorgeous views. The Emerald lake, Botanical garden, and the Pagoda Point are the top attractions of Yercaud.

Best time to visit: March to June is the best time to visit Yercaud because there is ample sunlight with a pleasant weather.

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13. The palace town of Karnataka - Mysore

 

Image source: wikipedia.org  

Also, referred to as Mysuru, Mysore is the cultural capital of Karnataka. 

Best time to visit: October to February is the best time to visit Mysore, given the pleasant climatic conditions. Mysore draws visitors from across the world to embark its glittering royal heritage and magnificent monuments and buildings. Not just the architecture, buts it is also extremely popular for its silk, sandalwood, and incense. Talking about Mysore, we cannot miss mentioning the food here! A foodie’s heaven, this is where the world-famous Mysore masala dosa originated, among other popular Udipi delicacies like Shavige Bath, Pongal, and the eternal Mysore Paak!

Best time to visit: The best time to visit Mysore is October to February.

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14. Forget Koh Samui, head to Andaman and Nicobar

 

Image source: flickr.com/Poonam Agarwal  

Little do we know about the beauty of these twin islands, that are our nation’s wealth. An archipelago made up of 600 islands in the Bay of Bengal, Andaman and Nicobar are our answer for any fancy luxury island destination abroad. Scenic beaches, dense forests, and adventurous water sports make for a day filled with fun and leisure. Crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches and lush greenery make for the beautiful panoramas of the islands. The Havelock island and the Cellular Jail are must-see attractions of this destination.

Best time to visit: Between October and May is the best time to visit Andaman and Nicobar Islands. As this is when the annual tourism festival is going on here.

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15. The fishing town of Kochi, Kerala 

  

Image source: flickr.com/Tim Moffatt 

A bustling commercial port, Kochi will surprise you with its colonial-era quaintness. The trading history of this place dates to at least 600 years, however, still very much abuzz with trade activities, this is the commercial capital of Kerala. With multiple cultural influences like the Arabs, Dutch, Phoenicians, Portuguese, Chinese and the British, you will experience diversity like no other place. The Jew Town here, is a must visit for its beautiful synagogue! The fishing trade here, along with its Chinese fishing nets will enlighten you.
 
Best time to visit: October to February is the best time to visit Kochi, given the pleasant weather then. 
 
A vacation at any of the above places is guaranteed to be nothing short of a trip to heaven!
 
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Featured image source: flickr.com/Tim Moffatt  
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SEEMA NANDE SEEMA NANDE

A deep-dyed Piscean, Seema is a dreamer. This extends to the fact that she is seldom in another world of her's or dreaming of the place she would rather be. A wild-child at heart and a keen observer otherwise, Seema's free-spirited psyche is eternally quenching for new experiences. There is no poison for her as restorative as Life, she is the one who will give you the cliched 'I-am-high-on-life', should you offer her a drink. She gets hungover on the feel of a new place, food and conversations with strangers! All this adding to the way she feels and writes!

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